Coast Village

Below is a condensed version of Coast Village history put together by Al Roberts (compiled by him between October 2001 and July 2002). Personal opinions and some names have been removed.

Development began in 1970 as a joint venture between Bohemia Lumber Company and Coast Real Estate, with operation by Century Park Corporation. Keith Robinson, a Coast Real Estate employee living north of Florence at the time, was hired by the developer to clear a road from the present day original entrance on U.S. Highway 101 “going east.” Armed with a compass and chainsaw Keith did the job, and by weeks’ end made quite a dent in the fir, huckleberry, salal, pine, and other native plants and trees to create an entranceway through the secondary growth. He was careful not to cut any more trees than necessary. A huge pile of brush resulted, which was burned.

During the weekend while everyone rested or did other things a smoldering brushfire developed that caught the woods surrounding it on fire. Before it was discovered and extinguished the fire had burned an acre or two of the surrounding landscape. Since a good-size clearing now existed, the developers decided to utilize the burned out area as a parking lot and clubhouse site, (the area now occupied by the Village Office and Laundry Room/Post Office).

The remainder of the streets were laid out to yield the most lots, which were sold to individuals at various prices based on desirability of location and size. Lot sales began in 1972. The lots originally sold in the range of $1,000 to $2,000. Common electric, water, and sewer lines were installed. A dispute developed with the installation contractor, and drawings for the locations of these lines were “among the missing.” Each lot had an electric meter that the operators read and charged to individual lot owners. In other words, the owner/operators bought bulk rate and charged each lot owner based on their metered usage.

Water and sewer were paid proportionately based on the number of lot owner/users and the City of Florence’s master water meter coming into the campground. These charges were included among other things in a “maintenance fee.” There was also a “recreation fee.” According to records the combination of those two fees was $192 per year beginning in 1971. CC&Rs allowed “recreation fees” to be increased a maximum of 10% annually. “Maintenance fees” were to be based on actual costs. By 1976 these fees had risen to $231.60 per year. 1981 saw the annual increase rise to $441.

In 1983 Bohemia Lumber Company sold the Coast Village Campground Common Area (streets, water, electric, sewer lines, buildings, equipment, and other amenities) to Mr. and Mrs. Eldon Nordahl. The Nordahls sold the common areas to Mr. and Mrs. Alex Schumacher in 1986. Bohemia’s sale to the Nordahls was a surprise; Nordahl’s sale to the Schumachers was a shock. By 1986 fees had risen to $594 annually. Lot owners were beginning to request more information on why the increases were getting out of hand. Disputes arose as to what was being charged to “recreation” vs. what was being charged to “maintenance,” and what was subject to the 10% increase.

Small groups of “unhappy campers” evolved, which eventually led to the formation in 1988 of “Coast Village Campground Property Owners Corporation,” a nonprofit corporation (a cooperative with more bargaining power than an individual), which eventually brought legal suit against the Schumachers. CVCPOC was shortened to CVPOC (eliminating the word Campground) in July 1992.

The first Board of Directors of CVCPOC met on July 23, 1988. The new president tried to convince owners how much better off they would be with the residents owning the common areas. Legal action eventually led to a property owner’s offer to buy out the Schumachers in 1991 for $650,000 ($325,000 was raised from property owners and a $325,000) bank loan was secured. Each lot owner was assessed $2,700 to cover the full $650,000. First they went to Oregon Pacific Bank to obtain the loan. There was a certain amount of red tape and numerous OPB Board Members were called for approval. After two weeks of waiting, patience was wearing thin. They decided to check with Siuslaw Valley Bank at about 3:30 p.m. one afternoon. The loan officer said he was sure the loan would be approved, but he would have to check for SVB Board approval. Here we go again, they thought. At about 5:30 p.m. the same day the loan officer called to say the loan was approved. Four years of hard work by so many had paid off.

Shortly after their first meeting a letter signed by eight lot owners was sent to all owners appealing for a $10 donation to help cover administrative and legal expense of the proposed CVCPOC. Response was not unanimous, but a majority of owners responded positively and the new Corporation was off and running. Keys to the park were obtained in July of 1991 on the day of the Annual Meeting. That evening there were 200 people who attended a potluck dinner in the clubhouse. It was quite a celebration; they had the results desired after four years of hard work. A few short years later some directors decided to make a run for power. This resulted in a lot of hurt feelings and anger that manifested itself in a board member trying to de-annex the property west of Spruce Street. Then there was the “lockout.” A board member (really a “clique” of members) decided that other board members didn’t have “a need to know” and locked them out by changing the locks on the office door.

The Spruce Street extension wasn’t mentioned. It split the Village, literally, with east and west entrances. Everyone had to pay for “the common good” to the City of Florence to extend Spruce Street and that set up the seeds for discontent, which was very expensive legally.

In 1993 an owner in the park sued the Corporation for “illegal activity,” claiming they had acted illegally in the whole process of setting up the Corporation and that they had committed illegal acts. As that trial crept to its natural end, he convinced another owner to sue the Corporation again for similar allegations. He also lost his lawsuit, but legal expenses incurred to the tune of about $60,000. Both litigants were to pay all costs, as the losers, but they were indigent and had court-appointed attorneys, leaving the bill to the Corporation. It took a long time to pay off $60,000. The whole process caused a lot of hard feelings among the property owners and took a long time to heal. One of the litigants finally lost his lot due to bankruptcy.

At one time the table in the Adult Room that served the Board of Directors for board meetings consisted of two sawhorses and a used piece of plywood. Several members thought this was a disgrace for the newly organized Corporation and set about earning money to improve the situation. They began having a lot of social activities, mainly dinners each month. All proceeds earned were spent improving the clubhouse. It took several years to earn enough to acquire tables and chairs in the Adult Room. Blinds, kitchen equipment, signs around the pools, entrance signs, a ping pong table, and playground equipment were among the items purchased. Rhodies and azaleas were planted in front of the clubhouse, and furniture was placed around the swimming pools. Then benches were distributed around the park. Not only did they earn money, but in the process it improved the friendliness of residents in the park.

Efforts began immediately to getting office and maintenance work started. All supplies and records had been taken or destroyed, so there was a lot of confusion, with plenty of work to go around. Everyone stepped up to the task with supplies, playground equipment, cleaning supplies, and labor. There were volunteers for collecting garbage, cleaning restrooms, maintaining pools, and the other work necessary to keep the park running. An office was set up in what is now the Post Office.

Speaking of the Post Office. The Postmaster of Florence, who was under Eugene, was requested to do what it took to improve delivery service. At first delivery would be made to one common point. Problem was that no one wanted to be responsible for distribution. Then individual mailboxes were explored. Weather was the problem, seems like no one made weather-proof boxes. Eventually the standalone self-service Post Office (serviced by the US Postal Service) was implemented.